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Smart Toys Need To Grow With Your Kid

A Smart Toy That Adjusts To Your Child's Developmental Stage

It is time to sort the clothes for my eight-month-old son again. You see, I have a big kid.

We pretty much had to skip over the 9-month clothes. And he was just too large for some of his toys and equipment. And don't even get me started with the shoes!

He has always been a big baby. I think the percentile charts make many parents a little nervous. What does it mean? What if it is different for height and weight? The other nerve wracking thing for many can be the comments from other parents. The “wow, she is so tiny!” can cause some mom's anguish; too tiny they worry? We need to address our anxiety and let ourselves relax — many kids even out in size and development and some kids are on their own special path. By letting go of comparisons we can embrace differences.

Kids are all different.

Recently an opportunity came to review a Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn Smart Stages toy that has a wide age/stage range. I liked the sound of stages technology that comes with this toy. The technology lets the parent choose and manually set what is best for their kids and their play. Great idea!

My son fits with room to spare in the Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn Smart Stages Crawl Around Car. He likes his own stationary space that he can sit still in, pull himself up on, and crawl around which helps his gross motor development. Plus, he is quite content in it, much like the happy babies that sit in laundry baskets. In addition to this, the beauty of Smart Stages technology is that it addresses the fact that all kids develop at their own pace. So there are three levels of learning that “grow with your child”; unlike the super short life of others toys.

The three different levels of learning content in the car can be adjusted when your child reaches a new stage:

The first level provides simple phrases, sounds, and songs. My son can explore the car and swat curiously at the different interactive controls on the dashboard now.

The second level gives opportunities to imitate, repeat, follow directions and answer questions. Eventually he will also be able to do the shape sorting activities, use the ball ramp which is great for the fine motor development, and respond to the sing along, noting the references to colours, letters, numbers, and shapes. He will also be able to fully recognize the cause and effect buttons which will mean more as he grows, although he already sees that if he pushes on the buttons they do something and if he leans on the side without the door too far he will fall over, which he did and was briefly mad at the Crawl Around Car, but all was forgiven quickly.

The third level inspires imaginative play with how the car works like a parents' car, and its songs, phrases and sounds are designed to encourage open ended play. Despite the range being up to 36 months, my five-year-old has actually been enjoying it too.

All in all I think it is a great grow-with-your-kid toy and not a one size or level fits all. In the case of my bigger boy, it is nice to have some options that he won't squash or have to be wedged out of. Plus, as you can see, it comes with a really great box.

From infant to toddler, these toys grow with your little ones. Invest in one toy that will be played with for a long time. 

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